Market forces and once-in-a-lifetime funding opportunities are driving the deployment of fiber broadband nationwide. In early 2020, the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) allocated $20.4 billion in funding over ten years to support developing broadband networks in rural communities. Then on November 15, 2021, the Biden Administration signed the significant $65 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law, including the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program that sets aside more than $42 billion for constructing these networks with a priority on covering unserved and underserved locations. Despite demand and funding, the industry faces a lack of skilled labor that threatens to slow rollouts and adversely impact fiber network performance and reliability.
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